Always be prepared...

1227061-Barb-12-00405gThe preparation for an event starts as soon as I do an entry for an event, which with affiliated events needs to be done about a month before the competition date. First of all is the horse fit enough, do I need more dressage or SJ lessons, was the last XC run good or do we need to go XC schooling, does the horse need to be seen by the physio, does the horse need new shoes!? The list goes on.

With instructors, farrier, physio (if needed) booked the countdown begins!

Whenever I have any lessons I always ask my instructors for some homework, work that needs to be done at home in preparation for the next lesson. If I have a lesson quite close to a competition then my homework is sometimes slightly easier as we don't want to ask too much of the horse just before competition.

In the last week of preparation for the particular event I stick to a plan of work for each horse, with enough flatwork sessions and jumping sessions to ensure we are as prepared as possible. It is also very important to do lots of hacking as all horses love hacking! The day before a competition I usually do a light schooling session, practicing the correct dressage test for the following day and then take the horses out for a wonder around the block to chill them out, ready for the competition.

Then the excitement begins…..

Depending on how early my start times are, whether I have time to walk my XC course in between disciplines all depends on how much I get the horse ready the evening before. As recently I have had a few horses out at each event I usually bath, trim and plait the horse the evening before. To ensure the horse's plaits stay nice I always cut down the leg of a pair of my mum's tights and band the tights over each plait!

1227061-Barb-12-05714hThe trailer / lorry is then prepared with all the water, hay, feed (if needed) and rugs being put in ready for the competition. Once I have finished outside, usual well after it has got dark, I then head inside to get all the tack clean and pack all my riding clothes, jackets and boots! I tend to be very good and wipe over my bridles every time I use them so they aren't too dirty. Once I've cleaned my tack, polished my boots and decided which sponsors numnah I am wearing I have a bite to eat and then head off to bed!

RING RING RING… alarm goes off (normally at some silly time in the morning) and it is the morning of the competition and now the excitement really kicks in…..

I pull on some clothes, grab a bite to eat and head outside to feed the horses. Whilst the horses are eating the feeds 1227061-Barb-12-05806band haynets for that night are done and then I begin mucking out, which only takes a few minutes per stable thanks to Five Star Bedding Wood Pellets! All the tack and my equipment are put in the trailer / car or lorry. Horses which aren't out competing have their rugs changed and are turned out in the field for the day. The horses that are competing are brushed and then all their travelling stuff is put on, either travel boots of gamgee and bandages, depending on the horse. With tails all bandaged and legs all wrapped up it's time to load the horses. The grooming (tarting up) box is put in the trailer along with the wash off bucket, first aid kit (essential!!) and more importantly a selection of Likit treat bars to keep the horses happy throughout the day.

1227061-Barb-12-00337gOnce horses are loaded I just double check I've packed everything needed and we all jump in the car, usually about 10-15 minutes late, and the off we go… the 'Gate Services' to fill up my car and the driver (mum needs her coffee for the journey!)

Once we've filled up we all get back in the car and put the competition postcode in the satnav and begin, what we all hope will be a great day out competing! WISH US LUCK J


Keep Calm & Canter On



To read regular reports, blogs and competition results from us all at SGEventing, along with pictures and videos please keep checking out my website:

Also now the eventing season has finished and my eventers are out enjoying some time in the field I have a bit of time spare to do more teaching and riding of Clients horses. So, if your based in Kent (will teach further afield if a yard / centre has more than 3 hours teaching) and would like a new instructors opinion or have a horse you are having problems with then please do not hesitate to contact me on 07595737197 or

Written by SG Eventing at 10:30, 12 October 2012


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